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Joanne Karunakaran Koops

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

10/11/1986, Wilmington, NC
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.

Indian Dr. father, German homemaker mother. Simple, not particularly stylish parents. i am eldest of 5. Very conservative Christians. Could afford to purchase pretty much any mass-milled fashion I wanted to wear.

What kind of work do you do?

International Affairs major working as a dental assistant (business attire on my mind, scrubs everyday).

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?

Married (3yrs), recently separated. No children.

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I feel like I am going through an early, mid-life crisis, driven by my conservative upbringing, recent marriage and separation, and unclear career path and prospects. I want to look uniquely stylish, young, and fresh everyday. I enjoy drawing in the color, patterns, and textiles of my Indian heritage. I seek to draw from the modern, German-European stylistic sensibilities of my cousins there. I also enjoy thrift-shopping and consignments! I feel a little limited by my current economic staus and by the small city/large town in which I live (both what is acceptable to wear, and the shopping available). I like to physically be in a store to try on articles of clothing, so i don't generally shop for clothing online. The scrubs I wear are vibrantly colored, have a relatively good body-fit and are so comfortable. Scrubs are like a uniform to hide in, be identified by, and easy option when outfit-assembly-creativity might be otherwise lacking.
Even if I'm going to the club or show, I want to highlight class and feminine grace- not the outfit or brand or my body. I believe the outfit should always comlent and highlight a woman's features and personality, not distract foe or clash with them.
All that said, I most often feel "frumpy", outdated, and self-conscious in much of what I wear. I try to fight that but the persistent questions in my mind are, "how does this really look on me? Do I look beautiful?"

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

It feels so good to express how I think about the clothes I wear and the factors that influence how I dress.


My parens spent all of their childhood in their respective countries and came to the U.S in their twenties. One parents moved at least 16 times. I have lived in 9 different states/countries. My sense of self and style have been in constant flux. Sometimes I'm ok with that. Other times it frustrates me. Whatever I wear, I want to look and feel beautiful.

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